Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Green Chagoi

 As if Zeus was paying attention to the weatherman, our La Niña winter is developing according to type.

For us, La Niña generally means a winter with measurably more precipitation and colder temps.  As it happens, our December was remarkably dry and mild.  Close to, if not the driest December on record depending where in the PNW you took your measurements.  And as much as I whine about the weather, it was pretty tolerable.  Let me say though that or trip to central and southern California was an eye opener.

The fine details of La Niña however spec that the colder and more precipitate part of winter comes in the New Year.  It is cold and rainy out now, and the forecast is for snow tonight and tomorrow.

It’s hard on my mind but as I sit here in my heated office looking out at the rain dimples on the pond I realize it’s hard on the beasts.  I’m putting out more seed and suet cakes for the birds.  According to the thermometer, the water temp is just above 38 degrees, and as I look into the pond I see all my colorful carp lying in a listless stupor on the bottom.   So they lie, dormant like gladiolus bulbs, conserving energy and waiting.   All that is, except for the green Chagoi. 



Cha is Japanese for brown tea, thus Chagoi, is a brown tea colored Koi.   Most Chagoi generally come in various shades of brown.  This little fish I picked up in late summer at a bargain price.  Summer’s end is when you can get deals on Koi; just like lawn furniture and bikini retailers, Koi dealers here are not anxious to carry stock through the winter.

Even since I brought him home, this little fish has grown.  The others stir away when I peer into the pond, but he turns and faces me.  He follows me with his orientation as I walk around the pond.  He’s always hungry, always nibbling at the algae on the side of the pond and always ready should I toss a few pellets of food into the pond.  I haven’t fed the fish since November, but he hasn’t forgotten.  It will probably be late March or April before I begin feeding, the others don’t even think about it, but he’s on the prowl.

I love his green olive shade but like all Chagoi he’s likely to change colors as he matures.  Some get more root beer colored, others go dark brown, but if he conforms to type he is likely to turn ‘blond’ or a latte’ color.  Perhaps fitting for his nature:  He’s the most mellow, the most people friendly fish in the pond.

As the rest lie at the bottom, waiting for warmth, the green Chagoi cruises the pond’s far reaches, pecking at anything that looks edible.

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